The effects of environmental enrichment on the physiology, behaviour, productivity and meat quality of pigs raised in a hot climate

Emma Fàbrega, Míriam Marcet-Rius, Roger Vidal, Damián Escribano, José Joaquín Cerón, Xavier Manteca, Antonio Velarde

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6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Some positive effects regarding the use of enrichment material on the stimulation of pig exploration and a reduction in redirected behaviour was reported. This study aims to evaluate the effects of four enrichment materials on the behaviour, physiology/health, performance and carcass and meat quality in pigs kept in Spanish production conditions. Ninety-six male pigs (six pigs/pen) ranging from 70 to 170 days old were used. Chains were used for the control group (CH), and wooden logs (W), straw in a rack (S) or paper (P) were also used. The pigs were subjected to two pre-slaughter treatments: 0 or 12 h of fasting. Their behaviour was observed for 12 weeks using scan and focal sampling. Samples of the Neutrophil: Lymphocyte (N:L) ratio and lactate were obtained from the pigs at 66 and 170 days old. Saliva samples for Chromogranin-A (CgA) were obtained at 67, 128, 164 and 170 days old. The weight, skin lesions and feed intake of the pigs were recorded. S triggered more exploratory behaviour than W and CH (P < 0.001). Skin lesions and redirected behaviour were lower for pigs with S (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). The pigs offered S presented lower CgA after no fasting than pigs with P or CH (P = 0.055). Lactate was higher in pigs with W and CH treatments, regardless of fasting (P < 0.05). The N:L ratio increased over time (P < 0.05). No other significant effects were found. Overall, straw in a rack was the enrichment material that enhanced pig inherent behaviour. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number235
JournalAnimals
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • Behaviour
  • Chromogranin-A
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Lactate
  • Meat quality
  • Performance
  • Pig
  • Skin lesions

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